03rd Jun2014

‘WWE Payback 2014′ Results & Review

by Chris Cummings

WWE-Payback-2014

It has been a rocky road for WWE since the spectacular WrestleMania 30 event in April, and while there have been plenty of things to get excited about as far as television content, such as Cesaro’s new push, Barrett’s I-C title reign, Bryan as champ and The Shield and The Wyatt’s dominating of the main event scene, there are still many problems with the WWE product, and backstage, especially when it comes to financial losses, WWE isn’t doing so well. Not to mention that the most popular guy in the company from a fan perspective, Daniel Bryan, may be out for a while with a severe injury.

There has been talk regarding WWE losing a lot of money since the launch of the WWE Network, and on top of that there are complaints that WWE have yet again hit a brick wall on their promise to present a fresh and interesting product after WrestleMania. The same feuds are still going on two months later, and there are decisions being made that don’t seem to make sense. Still, looking at this show without those concerns and without delving too deeply into things, it doesn’t sound too bad, but at the same time it feels like another rehash, another rematch and another card filled with things that just don’t cut it anymore. Still, we might get some good matches here, so I will enter this, as I always do, with an open mind.

Match results:

  • Pre-show – El Torito beat Hornswoggle in a Hair vs. Mask match
  • Sheamus pinned Cesaro (with Paul Heyman) to retain the U.S Title
  • Ryback & Axel defeated Cody Rhodes & Goldust
  • Rusev (with Lana) beat Big E by submission
  • Bo Dallas vs. Kofi Kingston went to a no-contest
  • Bad News Barrett pinned RVD to retain his Intercontinental Title
  • John Cena defeated Bray Wyatt in a last-man-standing match
  • Paige beat Alicia Fox to retain the Divas Title
  • The Shield beat Evolution in an elimination tag match

The show was a mish-mash of decent bouts and poor ones, but much of what was on offer felt stale and reused, the whole product is in dire need of a serious shake-up in my opinion. The opener between Sheamus and Cesaro was a perfect example of the stale product because while both men entered an entertaining and enjoyable performance in a good match it still didn’t feel like it mattered, and though this was the first PPV bout between these two men in their current feud, they have wrestled many times recently on television which made the whole thing seem typical and unexciting. It’s a shame that talented guys like these are being put into situations like this, where their PPV matches just don’t seem important.

After Cody and his brother Goldust lost their tag match to Rybaxel, Cody took the microphone and told his older sibling that he should seek a better tag partner. Cody walked away looking sombre as Goldust looked confused in the ring. This may just signify the split of this team, but if this is really the way they are splitting them then it might not result in the Cody/Goldie feud that many have wanted to see for a number of years.

The Rusev/Big E match was more than just the typical squash that we have become accustomed to seeing with Rusev on television since his debut a couple of months ago. Big E still feels dangerously clumsy to me and his selling and crowd pleasing work is fairly non-existent. Rusev is improving, and he’s already on the way to being a good big guy worker. He showed much more intensity here, which he needed to do, and the match had more content that his previous ones have had. It’s a matter of time before they throw Rusev in a feud with Cena though, which concerns me, but I won’t get into that before it even happens.

An unadvertised Bo Dallas/Kofi Kingston match was interrupted by Kane, who stormed out, beat the heck out of Kingston, and left. Dallas entered the ring once Kane was gone and cut a promo saying that Kofi would be “back on his feet in no time” and that all he has to do is “Bo-lieve”. The fans chanted “Bo-lieve” as this daft segment ended.

2001 returned to our screens as the past-it Rob Van Dam took on the Intercontinental Champion, Bad News Barrett. Barrett is over with the fans because he is young, talented and underrated and the fans see that a mile away. RVD’s day has come and gone and I’m tired of seeing him return for a few months at a time. He isn’t terrible in the ring, but when there are talented full-time workers who are being left off the cards, such as Ziggler, Miz and others, it’s a joke. The match was fine, the fans were into it throughout and it is very nice to see Barrett in a decent spot again, getting the chance to work lengthy matches. He needs an exciting and interesting feud with another young worker now this match is over with.

I interrupt this review to talk about how blood annoying the commentary team in WWE are right now. The three-man team of Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry Lawler are terrible. Their annoying jokes seem to harm the product instead of making it appear decent, and the tangents that they go off on are so ridiculous at times that it makes me want to switch off the show. JBL, during the Barrett/RVD match, repeatedly said “I got some bad news” to the point where it became distracting to the in-ring product. Their stale content mirrors WWE’s storylines and main event scene, and their lack of willingness to put over young talent is pathetic. When there are talented announcers like Renee Young, William Regal and Jason “Tensai” Alberts under contract, there is no excuse for these three hacks being out there. Please WWE, put them out to pasture.

The prolonged Authority/Daniel Bryan feud continues at Payback. Daniel Bryan, having recently had a genuine neck surgery, came out to speak with Stephanie McMahon regarding his standing as WWE World Champion. Brie Bella, wife of Bryan, accompanies her hubby to the ring. I feel like I’ve seen Bryan and Stephanie argue and face-off in the ring at least six-thousand times in the last twelve months, but that could just be me. The segment featured Stephanie telling Bryan to give up his title or she would fire his wife. Stephanie talks about Bryan and Brie possibly creating “bearded babies” in the future. Be a star Steph, be a star. Bryan tells Stephanie to do the right thing, saying he fought hard to win the title. The fans chant for CM Punk. Brie calls Steph a “bitch”. It’s all fun and games. The fans are into the segment, but it is the same old thing really. Stephanie tells Brie that she made a poor choice for a husband. Brie says that they need to do the right thing. Bryan looks like he about to hand over the WWE World Championship but Brie stops him. She tells Stephanie that Steph doesn’t control her. Brie cuts Stephanie off while she’s talking and she quits WWE. Stephanie laughs in Brie’s face but Brie slaps her hard across the cheek to a big Chicago pop. Stephanie looks shocked and she leaves the ring to a chorus of boos. Bryan and Brie do the “yes” chant in the ring along with the fans. Very cool end to the segment here, but I have no idea where this whole thing is going.

I interrupt this review to talk about the announce team in WWE. Seriously, these guys are bloody terrible.

The Cena/Wyatt feud has been frustrating to watch. Cena won at ‘Mania, and though Wyatt won at Extreme Rules, he looked anything but dominant in his victory. Here, we get a “last man standing” match in what I hope is the final act in this tired and harmful vendetta. The Uso’s came out to stand beside Cena here to even the odds. I like The Uso’s but it’s a shame they wouldn’t be in this sort of place if it wasn’t for Cena. The talented Samoans deserve to be defending their titles in a big time tag feud on PPV’s. The match is the usual back and forth no-DQ formula that we see with Cena in these types of matches. Cena hits a big move, Wyatt answers the count. Wyatt hits a big move, Cena answers the count. This goes on time and time again until the match’s eventual conclusion. This wasn’t a bad match, and Wyatt entered an energetic and enjoyable performance, but Cena was just Cena, doing what Cena always does. His lack of selling and over the top facial expressions are as tiresome as ever. Wyatt took some heavy stuff here too, including the steel stairs being thrown in his face which caused him to have a lacerated arm and an AA on the outside of the ring. The Uso’s and Harper & Rowan had an exciting and brutal exchange involving tables towards the end of the match which the fans ate up. The closing moments saw Cena and Bray fight into the stands with Cena throwing Wyatt through a speaker box and burying him beneath another. Cena won here, yet again, a disgusting victory that yet again holds down a deserving young talent who needed to get a strong victory yet didn’t. I hope this is over now because Cena has proven himself, in my view, to be the most selfish worker in the history of WWE. Cena left the arena smiling, no-selling and running around like a goofball. Pathetic.

The Alicia Fox and Paige match for the Divas Title was okay, but the booking of Paige since her main roster debut has been bewildering. Paige was beaten up for quite a bit of the match again, which has become commonplace for her. Fox has been pushed on television lately which is cool, Fox is one of the most talented female workers on WWE’s roster and has been for quite some time. Alicia plays up the “crazy” gimmick that she’s been working recently during the match. This decent match ended when Paige locked in the “PTO” submission for the tap-out and the win.

The Shield versus Evolution feud was booked for one reason, to push Roman Reigns as the next big thing by having him lead “his” squad into victory over Batista, Randy Orton and Triple H. A very blue-looking Batista and Randy Orton brawled with Reigns and Ambrose in the opening moments of this elimination match while Trips and Seth tied up in the ring. It soon got out of control with both teams fighting around the ring and into the crowd. The fans reacted to most of what each guy did here and the match was very entertaining, much like their encounter at Extreme Rules last month. “Dirty” Dean and Randy-pants tangle for a while, and they show that they have a good chemistry together, something we’ve seen in one-on-one matches between the two in the past on RAW. Best sign of the night? “Spear me Roman” held by a female Shield supporter. Reigns has another powerful and forceful showing here, throwing around each member of Evolution at various times. Move of the night? Seth Rollins paying homage to Eddie Guerrero with the “three amigos” suplex which was followed by cheers and an “Eddie” chant. Dean, as the “lunatic fringe” of The Shield, is really coming into his own, his mad-cap offence is different, and sets him apart from his teammates. Evolution all did their damndest to put over their younger opponents here, which was nice to see. The match turns into a brawl and tables are broken and weapons are used. Ambrose and Rollins hit crazy dives to take out the heels at one point, while Reigns lays among broken wood and monitors at ringside. Evolution gang up on Reigns as we near the end of the match, each taking a turn to nail Reigns in the back with kendo sticks, leaving welts in the process. Seth “Second Coming of Jeff Hardy” Rollins hit Evolution with a great looking dive from the top of the structure-formerly-known-as-the-titan-tron. Reigns nailed Batista with the spear, eliminating the Guardian of the Galaxy and making it three on two in favour of The Shield. Ambrose then hits his finisher on Orton for the three-count, leaving only Triple H on Evolutions side. Rollins nailed Trips with the knee from the top rope, followed by a spear from Reigns and the pinfall. The Shield win, dominantly, and all three men remain in the ring. It was nice to see this as the ending of what was a poorly executed show. This match made the show worthwhile.

Overall, Payback wasn’t bad but if I was to sum it up in one word, that word would be “uninspired”. The booking was lazy, the matches all felt like rematches of better ones we’ve seen before and there were no surprises. The commentary was irritatingly bad, no titles changed hands, Cena wrongly defeated the younger heel Bray Wyatt, and the commentary was really bad. On the positive side, the main event six-man was very entertaining and had the right outcome and the content of Cena/Wyatt was okay until the final moments. The Barrett/RVD and Cesaro/Sheamus contests were fine, though nothing extraordinary.

WWE needs to do something, and do something soon, to freshen things up. New feuds need to be lit, new main eventers need to be pushed and the same old crap needs to be put in the dumpster with Vince Russo’s book on “how to save a wrestling company”. Next month is Money in the Bank, let’s see if WWE will change things up in the meantime or if we’ll be given another lacklustre event filled with the same old, same old.

Until next time.

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